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Zynga announces NaturalMotion acquisition alongside layoffs

Looking to bring its wayward financials back on track, Zynga revealed a handful of surprises during its 2013 fourth quarter earnings report on Thursday. While Zynga CEO Don Mattrick announced the acquisition of British gaming company NaturalMotion, he also said the company had to tighten its belt with company-wide layoffs. This comes with news of a 43.3 percent decrease in Zynga's revenue from a year ago.

The acquisition of NaturalMotion shows that Zynga is keen on cornering the mobile gaming market. NaturalMotion is known for popular game apps like "CSR Racing" and "Clumsy Ninja." … Read more

Zynga begins testing Bitcoin payments for some online games

Zynga has begun accepting virtual currency Bitcoin as payment for virtual goods in some of its games.

The social-gaming company has partnered with Bitcoin payment processor BitPay to test the cryptocurrency in a handful of its Web-based games, Zynga announced late Friday in a Reddit post. Players of FarmVille 2, CastleVille, ChefVille, CoasterVille, Hidden Chronicles, Hidden Shadows, and CityVille will be able to use Bitcoin to make in-game purchases, according to the post, which was confirmed by CNET.

"In response to Bitcoin's rise in popularity around the world, Zynga, with help from BitPay, is testing expanded payment options … Read more

Kixeye moves to mobile, shows free-to-play done right

SAN FRANCISCO -- Walking through Kixeye's headquarters here in downtown San Francisco, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the offices of a triple-A studio.

Military sound bites blast out of the speakers of its bunker-themed elevator waiting hall, a space awash in glowing red light and protected by an actual armed guard. Once inside, old-school arcade machines pop up around every corner, and row upon row of vertical code-filled monitors are paired with white walls of concept art for one of the many titles in the development pipeline.

The company is still very much a startup; … Read more

Zynga beats estimates, but user base continues to crumble

Social-gaming company Zynga on Thursday released its third-quarter earnings, and while its revenue decline still beats Wall Street's estimates, the user numbers don't spell recovery.

Zynga, now headed up by former Xbox chief Don Mattrick after Mark Pincus stepped down in July, came in at a loss of 2 cents per share on adjusted revenue of $152 million, up from Wall Street estimates of a loss of 4 cents per share on $142.7 million.

"We believe our top franchises, Zynga Poker, FarmVille, and Words With Friends can be evergreen in terms of consumer interest and we … Read more

Zynga settles suit with hookup app Bang with Friends

Bang with Friends has been no stranger to controversy in its short life span. But, it appears the hookup app could now be on the straight and narrow.

Not only has Bang with Friends ironed out a spat it had with Apple over its salacious name, the app has also settled a lawsuit with Zynga over alleged trademark infringement.

Here is a joint statement that Zynga and Bang with Friends sent to CNET:

Zynga Inc. and Bang With Friends, Inc. are pleased that they have reached an amicable resolution of their dispute. Although the terms of the settlement are confidential, … Read more

Zynga settles lawsuit over 'wholesale theft' of data

Zynga has settled a pair of lawsuits with rival game maker Kixeye over a former Zynga employee who was accused of "wholesale theft" of trade secrets before joining Kixeye.

Alan Patmore, the former general manager on Zynga's CityVille, left the game maker in August 2012 to become vice president of product at Kixeye, a rival social-gaming company also based in San Francisco. In a lawsuit filed last October, Zynga sued Patmore and Kixeye, alleging Patmore nabbed 763 files from the game maker, including confidential game designs, and brought them to Kixeye.

Kixeye admitted in a cross-complaint that … Read more

The 404 1,333: Where we snap to the future (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- The 404 Special Feature: Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant (podcast).

- The Internet explained by (three) prisoners who have never seen it.

- Three years after being banned, Bang With Friends returns as "Down."

- Computer scientists figured out how to execute the perfect Reddit submission.… Read more

Zynga COO David Ko said to be resigning in exec shake-up

As new Zynga CEO Don Mattrick takes the helm of the struggling game maker, top employees are leaving the company for a host of reasons. And two more high-level executives are said to be stepping down: Chief Operating Officer David Ko and Chief People Officer Colleen McCreary, according to BuzzFeed.

To address these top-level changes, Mattrick is reportedly holding an all-hands meeting Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. PT to discuss his outlook for Zynga.

According to BuzzFeed, Ko and McCreary are stepping down for different reasons. Supposedly, Ko was planning to leave after not being tapped to be the … Read more

Zynga quietly shutters OMGPOP games

Zynga officially has marked the end of OMGPOP, the game development studio behind the game Draw Something. The company quietly announced the closure of OMGPOP and four of its games last week in its player support forum.

Zynga will continue to provide support for Draw Something, Draw Something 2, and Draw My Thing. Although Zynga laid off its entire OMGPOP team in June, the company officially is shutting down OMGPOP on Sept. 30. The unit's four other games -- Cupcake Corner, Gem Rush, Pool World Champ, and Snoops -- will go dark on Aug. 29.

The struggling gaming company … Read more

Zynga sues 'Bang with Friends' sex app for trademark violation

It appears that Zynga is not "down to bang" with the casual-sex app "Bang with Friends." The game maker filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the app's maker for trademark infringement of its "with friends" franchise.

"This is a case about illegal free riding on recognized and valuable intellectual-property rights," Zynga said in a complaint filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco. "The 'WITH FRIENDS' brand is strong and has been associated with one company -- Zynga."

Zynga is referring to its social games that include Words with … Read more